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SBIR Impact - December 2007

SBIR Impact is a quarterly newsletter for small businesses interested in the USDA-SBIR program and for institutions and organizations that support the small business community and rural America.

Program Update


Reminders and Deadlines



SBIR Staff and Responsibilities


Subscription Information

Phase I applications submitted for the September 12, 2007, deadline are undergoing the peer review process. Applications have been assigned and sent to reviewers, and panels will meet in January and February. Final funding recommendation will be made in early to mid-March, with notifications to companies being made shortly thereafter. Grants, provided recommended companies successfully complete the CSREES administrative review, will become official on or around May 1, 2008. This is the same timetable that was provided in the FY 2008 Request for Applications. The next deadline for submitting a Phase I application to the USDA SBIR program is tentatively scheduled for August 29, 2008.

This program solicitation is for prior USDA SBIR Phase I projects that are eligible to apply for Phase II funding. The deadline for Phase II applications is February 6, 2008. All applications must be submitted electronically via Grants.gov by 5 p.m. eastern time. In addition, all potential applicants must complete the required registration process prior to submitting their application. This process can take up to one month; therefore, any companies that have not yet begun this process need to do so immediately. Information on the registration can be found on Grants.gov's Organization Registration pages.

The SBIR Grantee Resources page has been updated with new guidance for writing final reports for projects that receive Phase I and Phase II grant funding. The guidance provided in this document will help to ensure that the reporting of project results is consistent with USDA SBIR standards. Standardized reporting is critical to increasing the efficiency of the data collected, ensuring credibility, and enhancing the organization, management, and retrieval of information. Adherence to this guidance document is not mandatory, but will help to provide a consistent data set, which will facilitate USDA review, evaluation and provide the Business/Company with a comprehensive report to share with potential commercialization and stakeholder partners.


By Stacy Kish, CSREES Staff
Media Contact: Jennifer Martin, CSREES Staff (202) 720-8188

September 17, 2007

Soil erosion from rain and wind produces water quality issues in streams, rivers and lakes, degrades soil quality, and affects human health. Forest Concepts LLC, a small business in Auburn, WA, developed an environmentally-friendly solution called WoodStraw, an innovative erosion control material made from sliced strands of wood that is tailor-made for use on forests, highway projects, watersheds and other natural areas.

Previous erosion control methods, specifically the use of straw, were hampered by lack of stability under windy conditions, possible introduction of noxious weeds, chemical residue from pesticides and short-lived performance. WoodStraw is heavier than straw, making it less likely to be blown away when exposed to high winds.

The patented WoodStraw brand wood-based erosion control material is highly effective. An American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers study in California and Washington indicated application of the WoodStraw product reduced erosion by 98 percent compared to bare soil. In addition, a field experiment by the USDA Forest Service in Colorado noted WoodStraw outperformed all other mulch treatments.

WoodStraw is naturally weed-free and long-lasting. Since its introduction, WoodStraw has achieved regulatory approval by the Washington State Department of Transportation for use on transportation projects across the state and is recognized by the Washington Department of Ecology as an effective erosion control material.

Research and scientific progress continue to shed light on new benefits of WoodStraw. The product is currently being evaluated to see how it would perform for wind erosion and dust control on construction sites and for controlling blowing ash on burned areas such as rangelands.

WoodStraw technology earned an AE50 award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers as one of the 50 most innovative new agricultural, food and natural resource technologies of 2006.

This project received Phase I and Phase II funding from the USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) for developing and marketing this product.

The SBIR program enabled the rapid successful commercial launch of WoodStraw. Since completion of SBIR Phase II, the company has attracted several significant investors and brought on board a general management, sales and operations team with considerable experience.

"Without the support from USDA, the depth of science and disciplined engineering would not have been financially feasible," said James Dooley, co-founder of Forest Concepts LLC.

The CSREES SBIR program makes competitively awarded grants to qualified small businesses to support high quality, advanced concepts research related to important scientific problems and opportunities in agriculture that could lead to significant public benefit if successful.

CSREES advances knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by supporting research, education and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations. For more information, visit www.csrees.usda.gov.

USDA SBIR Staff encourages all grantees to review the terms and conditions that were provided in the grant paperwork. Within the terms and conditions are the requirements for completing your grant, including deliverables and how funding is disbursed. If you cannot locate the terms and conditions in your package you can download a copy at the Grantee Resources page.

Proper acknowledgement of CSREES funding in published manuscripts, presentations, and news releases is critical for the success of the USDA SBIR program. We specifically ask that you use the following language to acknowledge this support:

"This project was supported by the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program of the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), Grant Number (Insert Grant Number Here)."

We strongly encourage you to acknowledge CSREES funding in interviews and articles that feature your company, as well as work that was supported through our program. This acknowledgement is beneficial for both the USDA SBIR program and the companies with whom we partner.

Finally, we ask that you use the CSREES logo on your PowerPoint presentations or posters at meetings. CSREES logos are available in several formats on our Web site.

The deadline for Phase II applications is February 6, 2008. All applications must be submitted electronically via Grants.gov by 5 p.m. eastern time.

The deadline to enroll is 5:00 p.m. PDT, December 21, 2007. Detailed program information and enrollment instructions are available at http://www.larta.org/usda.

The Phase I commercialization training program was a great success. There were 60 people registered to attend the webinars. Feedback from those that participated in the training indicated that they liked the information that was provided and will help them develop a concise commercialization plan for their Phase II application submission. The USDA SBIR program is planning to continue this training in the future and as more information is available it will be highlighted in the SBIR Impact newsletter and via emails.

The USDA SBIR program has partnered with Larta Institute, a premier commercialization assistance organization, to develop and implement the 2008 USDA-Commercialization Assistance Program (USDA-CAP) for Phase II projects. With Larta's help, Phase II awardees will be able to develop a commercialization strategy as they further develop their technology, process or product. Information about the USDA-CAP has been sent to all Phase II awardees, including information for the upcoming USDA-CAP workshop being held January 29-30, 2008. For further information please contact the USDA SBIR program at sbir@csrees.usda.gov or Ms. Constanza Pachon of Larta Institute at 213.538.1451 or cpachon@larta.org.


Dr. Richard Hegg will be attending the Balancing Animal Agriculture and Communities Conference in East Lansing, Michigan, February 29, 2008.


Dr. Pete Burfening

  • 8.3 Animal Production and Protection

Dr. Charles Cleland

  • 8.1 Forests and Related Resources
  • 8.4 Soil and Water Resources
  • 8.7 Aquaculture
  • 8.12 Small and Mid Size Farms

Dr. William Goldner

  • 8.2 Plant Production and Protection - Biology
  • 8.8 Biofuels and Biobased Products
  • 8.13 Plant Production and Protection - Engineering

Dr. Richard Hegg

  • 8.11 Animal Manure Management

Dr. S. Sureshwaran

  • 8.6 Rural Development
  • 8.9 Marketing and Trade

Dr. Dionne Toombs

  • 8.5 Food Science and Nutrition

Scott Dockum

  • General SBIR Program Support


The SBIR staff encourages feedback concerning this newsletter and, more broadly, the administration of the SBIR program. We are committed to being responsive to the needs of applicants to the program and to those companies who have received SBIR grants. Please send comments to the SBIR office or call (202) 401-4995.


To receive email notification of future USDA SBIR Newsletter releases, send a message to sbir@csrees.usda.gov and type subscribe sbir in the subject line.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.